Best New Restaurant...the design is determinedly leave feeling a little awed

Ear-blistering ‘70s rock, kitchen pyrotechnics, Godzilla figurines - they’re all part of the magic at Claudio Aprile’s madhouse of a restaurant. The spectacle of the place is almost reason enough to visit...The design is determinedly unconventional (witness the chandelier made from 1,600 Godzilla monster figures)... After an evening here, you leave feeling happy, well-fed and grateful, but most of all- and why should this be too much to ask from a restaurant?- you leave feeling a little awed.
— Toronto Life, Where to Eat Now Issue - April 2011

...Origin’s design anything but ordinary

Origin’s design anything but ordinary. Jason Stroud admits he shot from the hip while designing Origin Restaurant (107 King St. E.), but he knew he wanted to do something out of the ordinary while still paying tribute to the building’s history. He and his team at Stroudfoot Inc. made use of found items, including some burned wood that was still sitting around from a long-ago building fire. That wood now comprises the hostess stand, while the DJ booth is made up of support columns taken from the basement...there’s a giant light fixture in the private dining room, affectionately known as the kaiju (that’s Japanese for “strange beast,” roughly). Stroud put it together by making moulds of some of his favourite toys — including Godzilla and Mothra...(the decorative power of action figures, it seems, should never be underestimated). Most of the furniture here has been custom-made.
— Postcity Toronto, March 22nd 2011, Jon Sufrin

eat here...local firm Stroudfoot mined the neighbourhood's illustrious past for inspiration

Already well-aquainted with chef Claudio Aprile’s aesthetic - having co-designed Colborne Lane in 2007 - local firm Stroudfoot mined the neighbourhood’s illustrious past for inspiration. The private dining room, for instance, is decked out with a sinisterly amusing toy monster chandelier and is intended to celebrate Andy Warhol, who apparently partied upstairs at one time. Black etchings of Victorian corsets, the like of which were once sold down the street, decorate the lounge... Stroudfoot custom-designed Origin’s unique lighting... lucid bundles of wire hang before the view to St. James Cathedral.
— Designlines Magazine, Annual Guide Issue - Summer 2010, Mike Doherty

hot spot...a hip bar and a whimsically modern dining room

Claudio Aprile groupies, of which there are many, have waited years for the chef to open a casual counter-part to Colborne Lane, his edgy gastronomic temple. Patience has it’s rewards. Taking one of Toronto’s oldest buildings back to its bare brick bones, he has created a hip bar and a whimsically modern dining room.
— Toronto Life, June 2010

...a veritable modern art gallery

Designer Jason Stroud turned a heritage property across from St. James Cathedral into a veritable modern art gallery. Check out the plastic Godzilla and Mothra chandelier, the metal tabletops and the silhouette of man with a bullet through his heart. Everything, right down to the red screw that locks the distressed wood bathroom door, is gorgeous... Already fashionistas, actors and fellow chefs mob it.
— The Toronto Star, April 23, 2010, Amy Pataki

...fabulous post-industrial light fixtures

The room is everything urbanites expect – it’s cool, hip, retro...There is exposed brick, fabulous post-industrial light fixtures and, in the middle of everything, the centrepiece, the raison d’être, the throbbing heart of the matter: chef’s gleaming stainless-steel open kitchen, where five cooks moving at light speed are surrounded by an eating counter built of 120-year-old reclaimed wood. If you’re dining alone or à deux, this counter is the best show in town.
— Globe and Mail, April 9, 2010

...two areas of surprising intimacy

Aprile and the StroudFoot design team have repurposed the ground floor of an early 19th-century building at the corner of Church and King. A column in the middle divides the space, with a bar either side, which, considering the restaurant can seat 140, creates two areas of surprising intimacy. A long banquette marches along a stripped brick wall; there are a dozen or so tables, or you can have a seat at the bar. The décor is earth colours. On the other side, there’s the cocktail bar leading to the patio. Torontonians are passionate about patios. At the first snowdrop, they yearn to eat outside. Origin’s patio can seat 150 and may become the nearest thing to watching life drift by in one of those sprawling Athens cafes.
— The National Post, April 9, 2010, Gina Mallet

...the dining table, the surface of which is decorated with army tanks and figures of toy soldiers..."it's a little bit of fun"

Acclaimed chef Claudio Aprile has opened Origin, a restaurant with private dining in the historic buildings at the corner of King and Church Streets. The property housed a number of clothing stores throughout the 19th century, and the design firm Stroudfoot Inc. drew its inspiration for the design from the Victorian corsets and fashions of the day, said Jason Stroud, who collaborated with Aprile on the project. “The central focus of the main level is an open kitchen on the east side and a lounge/bar area on the west,” Stroud wrote in his blog. “Part of our design concept is to bring some of the history of the building’s location and neighbourhood into the restaurant’s design aesthetic.” A series of wall treatments depicts corsets from the mid-1800s, and the lighting, crafted out of reclaimed brass wire, also takes on the corset shape. Stroudfoot Inc. used reclaimed wood from the Gooderham & Worts whiskey distillery to construct the bar and reclaimed barn board from the Cambridge area to create the flooring. Black banquettes line the wall in the lounge area, and dining tables made from repurposed aluminum fill the main dining room, which has a full view of the kitchen. A semiprivate dining room at the rear of the space, said to be a spot where Andy Warhol once caroused with local artists, is dubbed the Andy Warhol room. A custom white chandelier constructed out of 150 Japanese monster toys, known as kaiju, hangs above the dining table, the surface of which is decorated with army tanks and figures of toy soldiers. “They’re combating and attacking the monsters above,” Stroud said in an interview. “It’s a little bit of fun.” The room holds 14. A second private dining room, which will seat about 24, is planned for the lower level and will open later this year.
— Bizbash, March 31, 2010, Susan O'Neill

...dusky and urbane feeling, with a pinch of naughty

Downtown, meanwhile, the crowd has started going cuckoo for Claudio Aprile’s all-new Origin, which has a spectacular span of St. James Church, and which is just the place to come enjoy, say, a secular Chinois Duck Wrap. Quite dusky and urbane-feeling, with a pinch of naughty and a rock music aural overhead, the food is a far-away land from molecular (“modern global” is what he’s been calling it).
— National Post, March 23, 2010, Shinan Govani

...what a gem! exaggerated SoHo quality...smacks as both designer slick and re-purposed rustic

And what a gem! The space-with the heavy use of rugged, distressed woods, roughed-up metals and high-design furnishings (take a close look at the plastic monster chandelier) - is inevitably reminiscent of Colborne Lane, but the sensation here is somewhat different. The room has an exaggerated SoHo quality to it in the way it plunges an efficiently-run dining room setting into one of Toronto’s oldest buildings. With a capacity of 200, which includes a 14 person private dining area (and additional 150 with the upcoming patio along Church Street) the restaurant space smacks as both designer slick and re-purposed rustic, flourishing from high-polish wood surfaces, designer tables and black banquettes. For Origin’s look and feel, Aprile collaborated with Toronto’s StroudFoot Inc. to create an original-looking space that respects the building’s history. To do that, the designers used wood from a demolished Distillery District building and repurposed steel to build the bulk of furnishings. A padded banquette that runs the length of one wall is paired with scuffed steel tables (glass tabletops cover metal installations), while a hanging exhibit of antique wooden leg molds hangs from overhead. The private dining area - dubbed, Andy Warhol room, boasts a chandelier made from hundreds of little plastic toys, but all of this is hopelessly outmatched by the scenery-munching kitchen, which has become the centerpiece of the room. Taking ‘open kitchen’ to new heights, the kitchen is plopped in the centre of the room, with the exposed chef quarters on one side and a cocktail lounge area on the other. The entire island was crafted from 120 year-old wood, and regardless of where you sit in Origin, the manic energy within this area owns your attention.
— Martini Boys, March 23, 2010, Don Ellis enormous, pop art-inspired chandelier out of Japanese action figures

In Origin’s private Warhol Room (Andy Warhol is said to have visited the building in one of its previous incarnations), designer Jason Stroud, of Stroudfoot, is building an enormous, pop art–inspired chandelier out of Japanese action figures. He turned some of those charred beams from the basement ceiling into the restaurant’s hostess desk. Aprile hasn’t seen much of Stroudfoot’s designs. They showed him conceptual sketches months ago. Though he’s obsessive about what happens in his kitchen, he’s entrusted Origin’s dining space almost entirely to the firm. It’s uncharacteristic, perhaps, but the designers aren’t Aprile’s staff. They’re accomplished leaders in their field, just like he is. “When you’re doing something creative,” he says, “the last thing you need is for somebody to come in and change everything.
— Toronto Life, February 2010, Chris Nuttall-Smith